The 200-Calorie Cocktail: Diet-Friendly & Delicious

Everyone who made a promise to work on shedding those extra holiday pounds, raise your hand.

Our hands are in the air right there with you. Let’s be honest and admit that, while weight management is important, so is having a delicious cocktail on a Friday night with your friends. While alcohol is fat-free and low in carbs, calories in cocktails add up quickly. Here’s a Cocktail Calories Pocket Guide to give you the basics on calorie counts for popular beverages.


There are also a few great websites out there that do some of the calculating for you.

Glamour Magazine – Health & Diet

Their List of the 10 Best Low-Calorie Cocktails provides a good reference guide for cocktails under 200 calories. Our favorite is the Sea Breeze.

Oprah’s Online Health Section

Oprah’s got a way of always getting it right, and her “The Best Drinks For Dieters” slideshow provides you a diet-friendly twist on cocktails. She’ll convince you to ditch that Baileys and go for a classic Hot Toddy instead. Flavor packed and only 113 calories.

At Gidget + LaRue, our favorite low-cal cocktail to pair with this chilly January weather is the The Manhattan. The Manhattan is as strong and enjoyable as a properly made martini, and like a martini, it’s made with 2 simple distilled spirit ingredients. Our version is a slight variation from the original because we add a splash of the juice from the cherry garnish jar for the perfect balance of flavor.


THE MANHATTAN (153 calories)

TOOLS ::  Mixing glass, bar spoon, strainer and ice
GLASS ::  Martini
EXTRAS ::  Maraschino cherries (in their juice)
SERVINGS :: 1 cocktail

1.5 oz. Bourbon (or you can use your favorite Whiskey)
¾ oz. Sweet Vermouth
½ teaspoon of Maraschino cherry juice from the jar
2-3 dashes of Angostura Bitters


  • Combine first three ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and stir with bar spoon.
  • Squirt bitters into your martini glass. Swirl the bitters around to coat the inside of the glass. Don’t go all the way to the top of the glass—just hit the bottom 2/3rds.
  • Using your cocktail strainer, strain Manhattan into the bitters-coated glass.
  • Garnish with a cherry.

These 200-calorie (or less) cocktails should provide some skinny cocktail inspiration. Here are a few other skinny cocktail tricks to keep in mind as you indulge guilt-free.

Skinny Cocktail Dos

  • Choose fresh 100% juice rather than mixes.
  • Use zero-calorie bubblers instead of soft drinks. Try flavored seltzer, sparkling water or club soda.
  • Fewer ingredients mean fewer calories.
  • Pay attention. Moderation is key for your waistline and health.

Skinny Cocktail Don’ts

  • Don’t add creamed spirits or liqueurs. They double the calories in a cocktail.
  • Don’t use several shots in one drink. A Long Island iced tea has seven ingredients and nearly 700 calories!
  • Don’t order an after-dinner drink, they are often sweet and calorie-packed.

Cheers to enjoying cocktails without expanding your waistline!


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